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Wake Up Call: ALSPs Outpace Law Firms on Growth, Report Says

May 4, 2021, 1:04 PM

In today’s column, women leaving law firms often complain of unfair compensation, sexism, and bullying, a new ABA report finds; the pandemic has made the legal profession’s mental health problems even worse; Willkie Farr & Gallagher grabed a three-partner bankruptcy & restructuring team from Morrison & Foerster in New York.

  • Leading off, alternative legal service providers are likely to see accelerating growth and collaboration with law firms in the coming years, as the overall legal services industry confronts client pressure to cut costs, innovate, and work more efficiently. Demands that play to ALSPs’ strengths in tech and other areas, according to a new U.S. International Trade Commission report. The 130-page report on the U.S. services trade says ALSPs, which include legal process outsourcing firms and Big Four accounting firms, have in recent years outpaced growth of “traditional” law firms, whose demand has either declined or grown very slowly since 2010. (USITC.gov)
  • Female attorneys leaving law firms most often cite compensation systems that are unfair and gender biased as motivating factors for their exits, according to a new report from the American Bar Association. The report, based on 12 focus groups in six cities and 12 individual interviews, also cites complaints of “hypercompetitive culture,” a “bullying atmosphere,” and sexist and racist behavior, among others. (ABA Journal)
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the legal industry’s already serious mental health problem, according to a survey report released for Well-Being Week In Law, which runs May 3-7. (American Lawyer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Tesla Inc., which in April lost its fourth top lawyer in two years, is facing a new Pennsylvania federal class action over home solar roof tile contracts. (Corporate Counsel)
  • Houston, Tx.-headquartered Vinson & Elkins has a new senior leadership team, after electing partner Keith Fullenweider as the firm’s next chair and partners Jim Fox, Michael Holmes, and Hilary Preston, as vice chairs; Carlton Fields named shareholder Jason Quintero its new Tampa office managing shareholder; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius white collar partner Kenneth Polite, the Biden administration nominee to lead the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division, disclosed earning $1.17 million in partnership share for his work at the firm in 2020. (National Law Journal)
  • The fate of former President Donald Trump’s suspended Facebook account is to be decided tomorrow by an “oversight board” including 19 lawyers, scholars, activists, and journalists from around the world, according to a report. (Politico)

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher hired away a three-partner bankruptcy & restructuring team from Morrison & Foerster in New York: Brett Miller joins as global head of creditor rights, while Dennis Jenkins, and Todd Goren join Willkie as partners; Proskauer Rose got veteran Akin Gump investment funds lawyer Kelli Moll as a partner in New York. (Proskauer.com)
  • Sidley Austin recruited two financial enforcement officials as partners. Former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement director Thomas Ward joined the firm as a partner in Washington in its banking and financial services group. Ranah Esmaili, former assistant director in the SEC’s enforcement division, joined the firm as a partner in its securities enforcement and regulatory practice; Dechert got back litigation partner Steve Engel who returns in Washington after over three years at the Department of Justice as assistant attorney general. (Dechert.com)
  • Sidley got Alston & Bird environmental lawyer Maureen Gorsen as a partner in Los Angeles; former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt returned to his former firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck as special counsel; Reed Smith’s Singapore office brought in energy and infrastructure disputes partner Timothy Cooke and two associates from London-based firm Stephenson Harwood. (Reed Smith.com)
  • Seattle-based Perkins Coie hired veteran technology transactions and privacy lawyer Adrienne Ehrhardt as a partner in Madison, Wi. She has had several in-house roles and arrives most recently from Michael Best, where she was a partner and chair of the privacy and cybersecurity group; Orrick’s Düsseldorf, Germany, office got IP licensing & technology transactions lawyer Benedikt Migdal as a partner; former Comcast senior deputy general counsel Shelita Stewart went back to Hogan Lovells as a partner in Washington focused on corporate compliance, investigations and, crisis management. (Hogan Lovells)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com

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